Friday, December 18, 2009

4 generations of Ridley Rhymes

One of the great joys of being a father is to watch your child germinate and sprout their talents before your very eyes. My grandfather was a poet; my father and my mother were poets and I have been waiting with baited breath to see whom if any of my 4 children might receive the blessing of the muse gods and to see if three generations of Ridleys would add a 4th. After almost 25 years in suspense, my youngest son Richard Patrick Ridley aka Ricky an artist in his own right at 14 came through. With his permission his poem follows as does my poetic response. Hope you enjoy and are surving the chaos of the malls.

The Amazing Delights of the Back Bay Sights
Oh, Queen
There are many delights to be seen
Here at the Back Bay
Where everything is so green and gay.

Even the plants seem to be in complete bliss
They seem to think that no problems exist
As they simply wobble in the delicate air
And absorb the sunlight without any thought of despair.

And the wind rustles
As the animals bustle
While the hares scurry looking for food
And the birds sit still protecting their brood.

The river is to the critters is a merry ball
Where they all flock and sound their wondrous calls
Yet the river flows slowly
And the sun shines on it glowingly

The result is a beautiful fusion
Of various colors which may look like an illusion
As a result of the wondrous hues
And the majestic blues

Oh how I wish London was like this place
Full of beauty and grace
Yet it is a city without many delights
And can never compete with these amazing sights
© Richard P. Ridley
2009

Next in Line
He came into the world, the last, almost to escape the Bastille womb,
Fates conspired to be a day late but weeks' early into an IC room
With a bookend of names of an artist and an Alaskan muse,
The bones and tea leaves told me we could not lose
Maybe names a future do not even come close to predict,
The genes march out to often alter or interdict.
Waiting and wondering would he be one or would he be both,
But always in amaze at his progress and growth.
Just when it seemed the muse would not sprout,
And the art gods of paint gods would win the bout
Right behind a sketch that would make one grandfather beam,
A poem to fulfill his father’s life long dream
Now four generations spanning across the bridges of time,
The youngest now showing that he, too, can rhyme.
© Michael P. Ridley 12/11/09

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Spirits

This is a wonderful time of the year, more holiday gatherings and parties and time with friends, family and family than one could hope for; kids out of school or returning from college, lights, trees, and the inner glow that can only come from the gift of peace that this poet hopes all can receive and share. May the Christmas Spirit be with you always and my the magic of Santa Claus flow with each heart beat in each and every vein. Merry Christmas to all and Happy Holidays to all.
Christmas Beliefs

All of us come into this world unable to sit, stand, crawl, flush or talk,
Helpless, with only a blank sheet craving for all experiences to unlock,
We come into this world as a child and sadly many of us at the end so leave
And yet for many of us too quickly we lose the child’s skill to believe.
Slowly, but surely, as the child matures,
The childhood fantasies and tales not long endure.
The Easter Bunny who leaves the baskets at our door,
It is only a question of time when he will exist no more.
The tooth fairy fights the longest for no child will money forsake,
Leave a tooth under the pillow and dollars in to rake.
But the hardest loss to accept is that of Santa Claus,
The jolly bearded man with gifts all children hold in awe,
Look only to a child’s eye opening to a child’s forming soul,
Of changing fears and dreams laid on to innocent goals.
How hard to retain the excitement of the sound of reindeer hoofs
With the speed of light laden with gifts to touch down upon a roof.
With stockings empty and cookies left out last night
Now filled yet only crumbs—rubbing eyes so tired to catch a Santa sight
Eyes sparkling like searchlights in the dark running down the stairs
Cameras clicking, parents beaming, there is only magic in the air.
The spirit of giving, the sense of peace, the need to share
Whether the cupboard is full or the cupboard is bare.
Not just the presents in colored ribbons and wraps
But at least on this day, the gift of peace that will not lapse.
Sadly with TV, internet, and a wireless global room,
Laws of physics, peers and flight the spirit may entomb.
The rational side quickly, too quickly invades,
The childhood belief waivered and strayed.
Pushed by not the thoughts of peace to comfort and warm,
But the need to rescue the malls from the red inks’ harm.
But if one believes our adult frames transport of our soul with our minds,
A hope and thought on how the belief in Santa may never unwind,
It is to try to daily give more than to take, in order for more to receive.
The thread of giving, peace and goodwill to each day always weave
Life’s fabric through the spring, summer and the final frost,
With a Christmas spirit so woven will never be lost,
We will all hear the tinkle of sleigh bells in the night time air,
Ending another day of giving, another day we sought to share.

Michael P. Ridley
© December 15, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Spirits 2009

Before the initial first signs of decorations and ads becoming a torrential flood and the anxiety of will there be a Black Friday in this recession year darken the skies like an impending thunderstorm, here's hoping that all of us have a momnet to pause and reflect and be grateful for what we have spiritually, physically and emotionally and our ties with friends and family and after so thanking, give of our selves. A very Happy Thanksgiving from the Alaskan Poet: Please feel free to share the following over Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving 2009
Some Thanksgivings when the nation is way ahead of Friday black,
Dollars flowing and the cash registers chimes do not lack,
So easy to surround with the Thanksgiving portrait of dollars baste,
Family and friends waiting for the never ending taste
Of the bounties of a never ending, always expanding fruitful earth,
With caloric dances and appreciation in full on birth.
Grateful is so easy when it’s a chorus of seconds and thirds,
Only weighty concern is too many leftovers from such a massive bird,
And whether there will be enough time to relax and digest,
The last mincemeat pie and still put the dishes and kitchen to rest.
Like sailing a sloop in gentle seas with the wind a beam,
So easy to give thanks for another year of the American Dream.
If perchance the green leaves of profit past have left the accounts bare,
With the frost of foreclosures and the chills of layoffs now in the air,
The TARP spread with such hope to keep away the red rain,
May have now failed to protect those amber waves of grain.
Wonders of whether the Baby Boomers may have seen the high water mark,
Lights on the city on the hill now dimming slowly into the dark?
Or is it a time to cherish more the love of families and friends
Than the baubles and trinkets left behind when the lease must end?
Or is it a time to cherish the right to worship if one should chose,
Or to cherish the right to elect, only by ballot can one lose,
Or is it time to give and share with others to bring back the village sense?
To cherish the lack of drama and of chasing of selfish dollars too intense?
We may be wobbling, woozy, and shivering in pangs of self doubt,
But if we have our families and friends, despair must prepare for the rout.
Thanksgiving is not the size of the bird but the size of the love you wish to share
If the spirit is right, if the spirit is sound, there is nothing we cannot repair.
Happy Thanksgiving, we have before and will now pass this test
Spirit and faith sound and right, we, family and friends are truly blessed.
© 11/23/2009
Michael P. Ridley

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Survivors

One of the reasons why I like being a lawyer in venture capital is that you are exposed to the entrepreneurial spirit of really passionate people who will try to move heaven and earth and an investor's wallet to bring their company to fruition. TCVN every year has a survivor competition in which entrepreneurs make 30 second pitches to a panel of investors on why they should invest in their company. I met the founder of Rays a print magazine soon to also be an E-mag. How better to suggest to her on the need for a poetry column than to create the following. Will know soon whether I am going to publish and offer for sale Rhymes for the Holiday times, a collection of poems on most of the holidays and seasons occuring thoughout the year.

Journalistic Musings

There was a time far away when late at night,
With embers crackling and flames burning bright,
A muse might wander in slowly to sit before the fire
Telling tales of losses and dreams all humans seek to aspire,
Handed down from generations, sometime blind,
Not tales of scare for children but musings to open the mind,
Sad, the need to then read was not to so explore,
But to count the grain through the store house door,
Numbers ruled until the creative and abstract fled the menial fate
Human spirits to digest more thoughts, dreams, memories never to sate,
Prose ruled supreme and the muses swept to the corners dark
No place on the pages for the rhymes to embed or park
In a world of speed readers, plots and facts to compress and retain
Slowly watching the musings create images seems against the grain.
A poem is by nature an oral key to a receptive ear,
Which floods the senses, smiles or the wispy tear.
Even if you couple prose with photos no memory could produce,
Even so who better the reader’s mind and soul to seduce?
If a new magazine wishes to truly unleash the rays and be renown,
Know the campfires can still burn and a muse piece emotes hands down.
(c) October 27, 2009 Michael P. Ridley

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Red Ghost Of Halloween

On the of eve of Halloween, 71 years ago, Orson Welles terrified many in this nation with his radio broadcast of H.G. Welles War of the Worlds. The phone lines were jammed as countless thousands believed the Earth had been invaded by a Martian horde. Little did Welles no that the day after Halloween could be even more frightening. Hope all of you have a great Halloween and enjoy this Halloween poem:
Halloween Ghost

The town streets now quiet life the front eye of a hurricane of running feet,
Earlier raining on doors with howling winds of trick or treat
Squeals of joy as bags meet the candy cascade in sheets
Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, imagination waves filling the street
The tidal surge of costumes by nine has passed,
Sighs of relief-- enough candy bought to last
But in the near distance the winds again begin to stir,
Houses decorated have become a different lure,
The little ghosts are in bed, candy sate
The new wave all have a different trait,
Adults from the confines of the workday stress now freed
Costumed to allow the inner spirit to the body lead
We all most days wear at least a partial facial mask
Be it in poker, with friends, family or to complete our daily task
But on Halloween we can be the full on masked or costumed deal,
From legends of our past or to the future most surreal
For one night the inner spirit rules and is now unchained
With others carefree in spirit until the hours of the night slowly wane
The daily duties soon kick in and bring the freed, inner spirit in reverse
As the costumes shed the hint of an even scarier and haunting curse.
A new costume awaits us on TV and on many a retail block
The Christmas buying season has now begun, our wallets to unlock.

© 10/30/2009
Michael P. Ridley

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Requiem to a Venture Angel

On October 1, 2009 this country suddenly lost one of the great supporters of venture capital--Luis Villalobos. His contribution to entrepreneurhip as the founder of the Tech Coast Angels and an investor, mentor, director and friend to countless entrepreneurs was legendary. He was without a doubt one of the smartest men and clients I ever knew. Alexander had a sword to untie the Gordian Knot--Luis had a mind and a sense of intergrity, honor, decency and yes humor honed to slice through even the most difficult "Gordian Knot" an investor or entrepreneur would ever encounter. He will be missed by all and by this poet but his deeds will live on as long as men and women dare to dream and create.
REQUIEM TO A VENTURE ANGEL

For too many of us, life is but a game of charades,
False fronts, smiles and waves in search of more accolades,
Driven to capture and hold fame’s fleeting center stage,
False scripts to appear generous, caring and sage,
When the boatman calls the short term lease and appears for one’s last ride,
Across the river to unknown eternal banks on the river’s other side,
Those memories quickly fade and the footprints quickly wash away,
Mankind must now soldier on unmoved to yet another day.
But if a man is one of a select few without charades,
No desire to set smile as grand marshal of a passing parade,
But rather the real deal of integrity, honor and intellect,
Problems and risks to with ease sort and dissect,
A rare modern day planter not of apple seeds but of entrepreneurs’ dreams,
With money to invest and advice to help find the crease, find the seam.
To against all odds help the dreams take root,
To slowly, among the halos finally mature and bear fruit.
What monument for such a man would you build,
Dreams to gold, a leader in the alchemist’s guild?
We all know statutes rust, pit and coat to mold,
Names on buildings fade and such memories do not hold.
No need to chose, for the monuments to some extent already flourish and exist,
Not only his investments but his angels on the coast, halos in the morning mist.
As long as there is an angel and dreamer willing to against the odds take the risk
We honor Luis, and his memory will remain so clear, sharp and brisk,
A poet partner trying with him to help the dreamers escape the startup brig,
A band of five in leaning into the hostile winds then known as TRIG,
Sheds a soft tear but chuckles at the image of Luis with his power point slides,
Of wit and charts a year in sharp review, devoid of humor or hint of false pride,
Now showing the Chief Gatekeeper which eternal souls made the best return,
What it takes to overcome the risks, needed passion and effort to so earn.
Go in peace our dear friend and mentor from the city of the lupine,
You will be missed, but your halo creed here will last for a very, very long time.
© October 8, 2009
Michael P. Ridley

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumnal Equinox 2009

September 22, 2009 marked another autumnal equinox and the beginning of fall. We in California live in the Golden State which may be a bit tarnished today but still a land of dreams and entrepreneurs popping up like crabgrass on a lawn, despite the best efforts of our bureaucratic and political gardeners to regulate them into oblivion. We may be golden but in the fall we are like black and white with only shades of grey compared to New England's fall canvass of colors of its deciduous tress. Some say like a tree a man in the fall of his life cannot hide his true colors. Hope you enjoy the poem. If you want to receive preview pages of North to Alaska--Islands of Stability in Seas of Change, email me at mridley@octechlaw.com
Autumnal Equinox
Only in the autumn do the true colors emerge
Of reds, yellows, oranges in hues to splurge
Pixels of changing life in a sudden unrelenting surge
The bland uniforms of green to quickly purge
A canvas without brush to suddenly appear
With the global warming maybe later in the year,
Like a masterpiece reflecting into an artist’s inner mirror
New hues created without hesitation or fear.
One could tarry and never rush,
Colors vibrant, colors so very lush
Here up close or in the distance the miracles to brush
Another short term lease, the canvas soon the carpet plush
Almost by baton unseen, the colors begin to fade,
Slowly like drops of rain begin to cascade,
Confetti of colors in a welcome parade,
A colder sun through what was leafy shade,
Stark branches now only remain
Colors gone on forest floors now lain,
Warmth of summer quickly wanes
Harvests of fields of grain.
Fall is here and may be too in the cycle of a man’s trek
With winter snows soon to fall to summer dreams now check,
A moment to pause and to look back on summer acts now suspect
No longer able to hide his true colors, the past chose to select.
© September 22, 2009
Michael P. Ridley

Saturday, September 12, 2009

911 8th Anniversary

Friday, September 11, 2009 marked the 8th anniversay of 911 and the loss of more Americans in just a few minutes than the number of soldiers, sailors and airmen who were killed at Pearl Harbor in a matter of hours at Pearl Harbor or during The Longest Day June 6, 1944. Sudden death is always tragic, but the victims of December 7, 1941 had as part of their job description the possibility thought then remote to be in harm's way and those in the Higgins Boats or jumping out of planes knew for certain they were going into harm's way. Our citizens and the citizens of the world who died with them were merely going to work or taking a plane.
The day is full of stark images but the one that has forever seared this poet's mind and soul is that of fireman Kehoe wearing helmet 28 walking up the stairs at the World Trade Center into potential death to fight a fire and help people he had never met. That image spawned the following poem. We still observe December 7 and to a lesser extent D-Day. 50 years from now when most of us today have long since gone, my wish is that the day is marked with reverence, resolve and with respect to the brave passengers on flight 93 a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude. I memory of those who died on 911:
Helmet 28

His helmet bears a 28 burdened by 100 pounds of gear heading up a panic flight of stairs.
At 20 floors, his eyes are framed in soot and ash, a deer in a hunter’s headlight stare.
Outnumbered by a cascade of office horror in downward panic flight.
Most men would have tired, been brushed away, but not with a 5 alarm inferno to fight.
Was it the training, or the inner steel of the highest of all noble human traits?
To not abandon crew and total strangers to a searing, deadly fate.
Not since Operation Typhoon, have we seen planes driven at targets to explode,
Even then, only against warriors— who among us could ever fathom such a Bushido Code?
A micro globe of innocents whose sin was to be at work, bathed in high octane flames,
Desert sand chrysantimums hijacking a one way ticket passenger laden plane.
How could he or would we ever have the courage to put ourselves in harm’s way,
Climbing 8 more floors in smoke, until at 28, the building rumbled and began to sway?
As a parent most of us to a man would with relish sacrifice all to save his child,
Or to protect a spouse faced with mortal dangers running near and wild.
But these were strangers, not neighbors, kin or friends, but with his life and limb in doubt,
What courage to continue climbing burdened down and fight the urge to flee and get out.
It is said that true heroes in combat are those not in photos or who never make it home for the victory parade,
Now joined by 343 resting eternally in fields far and near within the memories of the living, never to fade.
28 could have stopped then and there at 20 floors and put himself out of danger of deadly harm,
But like true heroes, no fireman will turn tail and run from the pleading of five alarms.
Those who do not know us, say America is a soft land with heroes too few and too far between,
At their peril, if they ever forget the image of 28 trudging up the stairs into danger’s mortal scene.
If the helmet was any number from ladder 1 to 176 frozen in that famous photo frame,
The courage to climb into harm’s way to save a stranger’s life and not flee would be exactly the same,
Whether there is an eternal heaven or an eternal flame, one will never know for sure,
Or whether to avoid the fires, one’s spirit must be helping, noble and pure,
If there is, be assured 343 firemen of NYFD will hose down daily the streets of paradise,
Sweeping into the gutters of hell those who would in the name of God cause the innocents’ early demise.
If there is, it is certain that after 911, no NYFD member would ever be admitted into hell,
for too quickly on earth the brimstone sermons would end, as the devil’s damning fires they would quickly quell.
Michael P. Ridley
© December 30, 2005

Friday, August 28, 2009

Endless Summer

On the 27th of August TechAmerica successor to American Electronics Association had an end of summer party where several of our high tech companies also had booths. Despite the uncharacteristic heat that close to the ocean, the energy level of the attendees, many dressed in Hawaiin shirts was awesome. Do not underestimate the entrepreneurial spirit of Californians, regardless of the budget mess we find ourselves in. Were are to some extent escpecially on Rose Bowl Parade Days blessed with an endless summer and how fitting to have a herald to record. Hope you enjoy.
Endless Summer
In the Mid and Northwest and New England anxious glances to the clouds in graying skies,
Waves of leafy color from the north creeping slowly south as the summer begins to die,
The crowds along the beaches might be the same in number, but a subtle change,
Less people in the water as the temperature moves slowly into a lower range,
Shorts, sandals, sunscreen, sunhats now hard to find, in very short supply,
Winter clothes creeping into the aisles, as the summer begins to die.
The days turn shorter and the mornings herald soon the taste of frost,
Soon school bells tolling for the summer dying and soon lost,
In the Golden State, our days much more slowly become a little short,
But on close exam our summer is eternal, it does not abort,
Our schools are filling up but clad in shorts and usually a mellow tan,
Heads moving up and down to the beat of waves upon the sand,
Our beaches are still full of swimmers in frolic near the shore,
No arctic force can close even so slightly the summer door,
Even if perchance the temperature does drop and our mountains clad in snow,
Our beaches are of summer sand and waves, no winter seeds can grow,
Endless summer of friends and family who can relax when the work day is done,
And stroll in tranquil thoughts, feet ocean kissed and eyes awash in the setting sun.
We are the Golden State; we may be one of the chosen tribes,
A land of dreams, the will to succeed, always moving, never to subside.
This may in the lands of seasons come as quite a shock,
But to us with 49er blood, it is almost too grok,
In such an endless summer, freed of winter’s frosty grave,
Hope remains eternal; there is always yet another wave.

© Michael P. Ridley
August 27, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

General Old Age

There is a great museum in New Orleans the World War II Museum that is worthy of a trip to see even in hurricane season. The following poem has been added to the library collection and may soon be on display. Not a plug per se but my good friend Doug Spinn has a private rail car trip to San Diego on 12/5/09 honoring Pearl Harbor. www.larail.com for details. A great way to honor the diminishing Band of Brothers that answered the call in WWII. North to Alaska Islands of Stability in Seas of Change is almost converted into typed manuscript. If you want preview pages, please contact me at mridley@octechlaw.com. Enjoy the poem and take a moment to reflect on your father's, uncle's, grandfather's, mother's, aunt's or grandmother's devotion and sacrifice to what Ike called "The Great Crusade."
General Old Age
They answered the call by the millions, regardless of inner doubts or parents' fears,
Whether by draft notice or marching to recruitment, some even lying to be able to volunteer.
This was a war not for gold, honor or to occupy another's land,
No, this was a war to not let the gains of tyranny gel and stand,
Dropping plow, lathe, apron, even books and all manner of tools of trade,
A river of men and women to don khaki and join in the Great Crusade,
Ours was not a warrior nation, in standing armies we stood among the world almost last,
In every prior struggle once done, our armies and navies faded quietly into the peaceful past,
Our navy was our oceans that made Europe and Asia distant and remote,
Deeper and wider and more protected than any fortress moat,
No planes no matter how fast or how high they could soar,
Never, ever could they bring the horsemen of war upon our shore,
Our army was 3000 miles of land any foe would have to cross,
Behind each tree and wall, a citizen armed to cause deadly loss,
Or so it seemed, until that early, peaceful December Sunday morn,
In two hours our fathers' and grandfathers' generation in an instant was reborn,
From the sleep of isolation, a nation island in restful and secure peace,
To now chain the dogs of war others saw fit to unleash,
16 million Americans in the colors soldiered and served,
Over 400,000 never reaped the long life they so richly deserved,
These Crusaders lost a few battles and suffered a few defeats,
From time to time either orderly or in disarray they were forced to retreat
But the best generals the Axis could ever put upon the field,
In the long run each and every one died or had to yield,
The oceans soon became guarded American lakes.
No enemy admiral would ever survive in our seamen's wake,
Our airmen drowned out the sun with deadly, lethal planes,
Our foes fell from the skies like the monsoon rains,
There was not a general or admiral they could not best, their deeds fill many a page,
Save one general with forces all would wish never to have to engage,
Yet the battle has at last been joined and throughout this land it will rage,
This general takes no quarter, there are no prisoners and the war is in its final stage,
The men and Crusaders of summer in the winter of their lives are meeting General Age,
More leave the field of battle daily than the carnage of their blackest days,
We have hindered his march, but soon we will no longer be able to delay.
Armies reducing to Corps and then to Divisions and then to Brigades,
The numbers of the Greatest Generation slowly continue to fade,
Regiments to Battalions, then to Companies and then to Platoons and then to Squads.
While we still have the time, it is they we should honor and laud,
For sadly, soon there will only be empty reunion halls,
Full only of the memories of heroes who answered the call.
And the prayer that this General will soon never, ever have to fight again such a war,
There will be no combat veterans aging and waiting their turn to storm an eternal peaceful shore.


Michael P. Ridley
© September 16, 2007

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

RUGBY MEMORIES

In 1966/67 I was a student at the Stanford in France campus at Tours; the great tradgedy of Vietnam was heating up; DeGaulle was in the process of booting the U.S. military out of France (leaving of course the thousands of soldiers buried there saving their bacon in WWI and WWII, the streets of Paris were adorned with red flags welcoming a state visit of the Russian premier, and this 215 lb sophmore just off another summer of commercial seining was introduced to the game of rugby--wing forward, a lethal stalker of scrum halves playing in a league against the French whom we to a man despised. Four knee operations, torn rotator cusp and separated shoulders, cracked ribs later, no longer at 62 play the game. Long intro to being in Oakland on a pilrimage to Jack London square revising my manuscript--North to Alaska--Islands of Stability in Seas of Change the weekend of the 31st and stumbling into a combo bachelor and bachelorette party. Groom was a former rugby player and most of the men there had also played. As soon as they discovered I had played at Stanford and Yale, I was welcomed immediately into the band of brothers. The following poem came to me immediately to the pleasure of the attendees. Hope you enjoy it.
RUGBY MEMORIES
Artists go to Paris for the lure of romance,
Alaskans are drawn to the muddy fields of France
To without pads and helmets only hands bare,
To fight the French in the rugby le guerre
Years have passed and the knees are way too old
Only memories of red and white and moves so bold,
Scrum halves with eyes of fear trying so hard to escape,
The wing forward’s tackle and ribs to break,
And better yet memories of combat not mortal but to the max
Never ending no time to blow or relax
Ended by a whistle and then covered with sweat, blood and grime
The shaking of hands along the warriors’ line
Followed by now two bands of brothers sharing a well deserved brew
Scores long gone, only knowing your honor ran true.
© July 31,2009 Michael P. Ridley

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to a great son

All of my children have received a birthday poem on their birthday, a tradition my grandfather started for me at age three when I first learned to read. My youngest son Richard Patrick Ridley, one of the brightest kids you will ever meet and a great swimmer received this. I thought many of you would enjoy.

Ricky at 14

A caterpillar may view the day as the end of a path,
But to the butterfly it is the beginning of a new artistic craft,
Like the crab or lobster who too becomes far too confined,
And sheds his shell to free from the cramping bind,
Or the hermit crab who not only molts his shell,
But must find another larger shell in which to dwell,
Even the lowly serpent we almost always despise
Knows when to shed his skin or face an early demise,
Wings not used slowly wither and then die
Never to soar to new to new success ever high
My son, a lamp of learning to chase away the shadows of dark
Each year still not in motion hits or passes each and every mark,
On the 15th turns the ripe young age of 14,
A handsome, fit, and very smart young teen.
It is still too early to know how far you will be above the crowd,
But your character, manners, and goals make your father so very proud.
From the first day hooked to all manner of tubes separated from us by glass,
You have surged forward each year, each day to surpass.
Today my wish for you as you watch the wisps rising on a 14—candled cake,
That you are touched by His Grace and watched over by the Lady of the Lake.
Although I could rhyme on and on about your wins and lack of defeats,
No birthday poem could ever be complete.
Without symbols of history on the earlier day you chose to arrive
The Crusaders regained a holy site to allow Christianity to survive,
The first Europeans came ashore on your father’s adopted land,
And the stone of our linguistic roots was uncovered in the sand,
Spirituality, Adventure, and Learning—a trinity of a man’s worth
So fitting, all on the very same day of your early birth.
As you blow out the candles, your father bursts with pride,
His love, prayers and thoughts will today and always be by your side.
© Michael P. Ridley
2009

LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN FULL VERSION

Many people visiting the blog have asked for the complete poem; here it is. Alaska is more that a pretty face of unbelievable beauty or images of humans surviving in an unforgiving place, it is a state of mind. North to Alaska--Islands of Stability in Seas of Change will capture that state. If you enjoy the poem comments or posts are very welcome. mridley@octechlaw.com
LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN
Come with me, beyond the seas, to the land of the Midnight Sun,
Northern Lights, glacier bays, icy peaks and mighty salmon runs,
Where a man is not judged by race, color, creed, money, or even looks,
But rather how well he sets a choker, mends a seine or baits a halibut hook.
It is known to all who visit or live there as truly The Last Frontier,
Where you know by actions at once a man’s core, there is no fa├žade or false veneer.
It’s a land of the bush pilot clawing through ocean fog and mountain mists,
No radar or tower, with one mistake and in an instance he ceases to exist,
Or the gill-netter fighting sleep, drifting toward Five Fingers Rocks,
Hoping for a full net as his boat and gear are way too deep in hock,
Or the logger in a jungle of Sitka Spruce eaten by mosquitoes and gnats,
Another tree to fall, choker to set, no time to rest or even chat,
Or the bravest of them all who is hidden by the 50 foot swells,
Lifting crab pots in a frigid Alaska Gulf ocean hell,
Or the innkeeper eking out a living in a tourist season far too short,
Hoping the reservations all come through and none will abort,
Or maybe the pipeline worker in parka shaking to his very marrow,
As the cold arctic winds blow long and hard across Pt. Barrow,
Or the Aleut with harpoon in hand not moving on an icy ridge,
Be this the day, with one toss I store another seal in nature’s fridge,
Or maybe even the tourist on a hike about to find the ultimate rush,
That sound, that rustle, that noise, is it a Brown Bear coming through the brush?
In a land where nature has stacked the deck and holds all the cards,
Where life outside the cities is never easy and always very hard,
For those who live, no matter whom or where, there is a common, admired trait,
When nature strikes, all is dropped and one rushes to save another from a deadly fate,
Contrast that with the pleasures and beauty we have in Newport Beach,
Where the values are as far from Alaska as a man could ever reach,
A man too often is faceless, honored not for character or strength of name,
But his FICO, and if not a Beamer, Benz or Rover to drive, he must hang his head in shame,
Too often judged by the skill of a scalpel for his trophy mate,
Or the length of the unused yacht in the harbor he uses as bait.
What values to you teach when a million dollar house is only a shack?
Where do you find the moral core that enables you to into adversity tack?
How do you shed the veneer that takes so much time to polish and shine?
God help you if in the material race, you begin to fall behind.
A suggestion not very novel nor even very bold,
Visit this land of human warmth and frigid cold,
Bring back visions of the Northern Lights to store,
To share with a loved one when you stroll upon Newport’s sandy shores.

Michael P. Ridley
© August 8, 2007

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Independence Day Newport Beach Style

Summer Patriots

It is far too ironic that on the day we celebrate independence from our former English liege,
A large part of Newport will be like a city under martial siege,
With police on every corner though not in riot gear and barricades on every street.
That cherished right of auto movement has been curtailed, it has met defeat.
In recent years our neighbor city further up the coast,
Thousands of celebrants turning all manner of couches and sofas into toast.
Symbols of farmers, blacksmiths or tanners behind a hedge, fence or tree,
Armed with flintlock by force to try to set us free.
The image of fife and drum and three men with bandaged head and wounded leg,
Replaced today by those gathered round the coolers, gathered round the keg,
The badge of honor goes to whomever can most and forever consume,
Or who gathers the most thongs throughout his rooms.
In 1777 it was a day to reflect, of fireworks and a thirteen cannon salute,
Marking the first Independence Day the fragile seed of democracy began slowly to take root.
In most of the country this is a day of parades, Souza, reflections, fireworks and family barbecues.
Sad, in this Golden Land of beach and sun, it is a day of too much wine, too much brew.
Any excesses you cannot blame on Washington who on this day in 1778,
Handed out rations of double rum to his soldiers who helped forge this ship of state.
A thin blue line and thin green line are poised on our border,
Against overwhelming odds to try to prevent drunken chaos and disorder,
For those summer patriots whose guzzling will not relent,
Who feel such independence is a God-given consent,
No matter how close you look at their blue and green threads,
No way will you find the slightest speck of Redcoat red.
If the summer patriots despised by Paine choose to party and not reflect,
At least accord the thin blue and green lines some honor and respect.
In the party daze remember freedom is not cast in stone nor etched in concrete,
It is more fragile than a snowflake or butterfly and in the hall of nations may quickly lose its seat.
Look only to Troy who felt with their walls alone were beyond any Greek’s reach,
Remember this short lesson history will teach,
After the celebrations of rivers of wine ran their sleepy course,
Troy was destroyed by conscious Greeks coming from their Trojan Horse.
For our rights soldiers are dying daily on Iraqi sands or in Afghan not Bunker Hills,
Party to the max, is that how one respects that sacrifice and final bill?
If for only a moment, image an army unpaid, in rags, many without shoes,
But no matter the hardship forged in the valley, their faith remained true,
They would not let go when they grabbed the lion’s tail,
No matter what, against trained English steel, cannon, and muskets they would not fail.
Each pledged one’s property and each pledged one’s life.
In countless battles many our forefathers paid the ultimate sacrifice.
So done, wave the flag with meaning and fireworks applaud with hearty cheer,
But maybe this year as you pause and reflect, use a little less wine, a little less beer.

© July 4, 2007
Michael P. Ridley
Have a safe, sane and more importantly reflective 4th of July

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fathers' Day

Fathers' Day
It is a bookend holiday with homage to all the grads at first
At least at college no more checks to quench the learning's costly thirst
At the end it is Yankee Doodle Dandy and Independence Day
Not for dad as the stress of bringing home the bacon turns all hair gray
It is in between and still in the shadows of the piles of gifts
That moms surrounded by children of all ages slowly sift
While dad if he is lucky avoids from his children another tie
But if lucky a new set of clubs, electronic or grill toys a wife may buy..
This year rightfully so it is on the longest day of the year
Dads may be in the daylight to be seen admidst the cheers
For a father is a special, special breed,
Who passes on the character and integrity seed,
Without which no child will long succeed,
And like the Higher Power above
Wraps his children in unconditional love.
(c) June 19, 2009 Michael P. Ridley

Monday, June 1, 2009

Land of the Midnight Sun

Come with me beyond the sea to the Land of the Midnight Sun,
Glacier bays, Northern Lights and mighty salmon runs,
Where a man is judged not by race, creed, cut of clothe or even his looks,
But rather how well he sets a choker, mends his web or baits a halibut hook

Beginning lines of a great poem from an Alaskan poet to his core and part of a numerous collection; book North to Alaska, Islands of Rock in Seas of Change soon to be released. Michael P. Ridley 2030 Main Street Suite 1300 Irvine, CA 92614 mridley@octechlaw.com
Band of Brothers another poem created. In honor of D-Day General Old Age is available for purchase. Please contact.

When the winds of change
ice down the Wrangell Range
and the ice slowly begins to melt
winds of change tightens one's belt
will the islands of rock
absord the shifting shock
when the deadiest catch will the human spirit prevail
when as a crew together none of us will bail